Reaching a healthy diet is the feat of the 21st century. However, consuming fruits and vegetables is not enough. Eating food free of chemicals is the goal pursued by lovers of organic products.
But what are organic foods? The National Autonomous University of Mexico defines them as “those produced without pesticides or synthetic agrochemicals and are controlled throughout the production chain.” Thus, food subjected to this type of process will not be in contact, at any time, with chemicals that affect health.
Nutritional education, health and a better lifestyle are the premises that are repeated among consumers and traders of the organic. But it is necessary to understand that not everything natural is. And it is that from the packages with the stamp of ‘light’ to those that usually take the label of ‘100% natural’ can be confused with organic products.
However, Pablo Cicarilli, of La Molienda Organic Market – a site dedicated to the sale of organic products – clarifies it: “Not everything that says ‘natural’ is organic, the primary products with
which they were made must follow a procedure and be treated as organic.”
The production processes are undoubtedly the key factor in developing this type of product. Natural care and fertilizers will make a difference, which according to consumers “feels like eating”.
A ‘green’ business
According to statistics from the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), there are currently 172 countries where organic production is practiced – out of the 198 countries that exist in the world – and Ecuador is not far behind.
The data mentioned by the Agency of Regulation and Control Fito and Zoosanitario indicate that organic production is practiced in 23 of the 24 provinces of the country. In addition, until March 2017 there were 36,246 hectares and 11,529 registered organic producers.
It is not difficult to find organic products on hangers, and less to find places that are dedicated only to the sale of these products. In the case of Guayaquil, La Molienda is a business that is close to completing its first year of operation.
A space full of green, is what receives buyers who are already frequent customers on this site. Although Paula Molina and her husband Pablo Cicarilli acknowledge that the business has grown this year, they aim not to stop, but recognize that the country needs “education” the benefits of these products
Healthy but out of budget?
Andrés Pachano, one of the owners of Natural & Organic Health in Quito, thinks that this is just a myth, and that the real challenge lies in creating awareness. “Explaining to people and introducing them to this lifestyle is the most difficult thing,” he stresses.
Although it cannot be denied that organic food has a higher cost than conventional food, the difference is not abysmal. Pachano points out that some organic products can be found with a 10 or 15% difference.
This extra value is not a problem for lovers of organic, who argue that the investment translates into fewer views to the doctor. As for prices, everything is a matter of knowing how to search. There are places where you can find everything per unit and kilos, and there are others where you can find even special baskets -which contain about 20 products- at a more convenient price. (I)